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Saturday, July 16, 2011
Crisitano Ronaldo's goal the highlight of highlights

By Blair Angulo

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo unleases a wicked shot in the second half that unbelievably went into the goal from a sharp angle.

LOS ANGELES -- He danced to the right and swayed to the left. His feet fluttered. Again to the left and, finally, Cristiano Ronaldo was ready to unleash a left-footed rocket that's nowhere to be found in American soccer.

Galaxy backup goalkeeper Brian Perk did what he could, sticking his frame to the near post. Still, Ronaldo found the slightest crease, scoring on a scintillating blast that wowed those at the Memorial Coliseum. Ronaldo's goal was the highlight of all highlights, a world-class strike that stood out in Real Madrid's dominant 4-1 win Saturday night.

Galaxy defender Bryan Jordan, Ronaldo's dance partner during the sequence, did what he could, really. Jordan followed Ronaldo to the right and back to the left, forcing him wide. But the Portuguese star did everything at a different pace. Jordan never had a chance.

"When he's coming at you, you've got to drop," Jordan said. "If you get too close to him, he'll push it by you. He was cutting back and forward, so I gave him the inside originally and tried to get players to help me. He didn't have much space down there, but he hit a great shot."

Perk, meanwhile, thought he was in good position. His intention was to cut off Ronaldo's shooting angle, leaving a small space on the far post that is nearly impossible for offensive players to capitalize on.

"In retrospect, I was right in line," Perk said, shaking his head. "I couldn't get a full dive so all I could do was put my hand up. He took one step over and hit a ball. I mean, he hit the ball. I'll leave it at that. He beat me at a spot he shouldn't beat me but that's Ronaldo."

Ronaldo's goal, which came in the 53rd minute, made it 3-0 Real Madrid. The goal was loud and the crowd was louder. Ronaldo saw the ball go in the net and stopped in his tracks, soaking in the moment and allowing his teammates to greet him. By then, the Galaxy had been outmatched physically and technically. A small mistake in exchange quickly turned into a foot race the other way. José Callejón and Joselu each scored in the first half, inducing loud ovations from the pro-Madrid crowd of 56,211.

But nothing was as picturesque as Ronaldo's laser. The Coliseum turned into one big flash of cameras. Fans in the lower portion of the sidelines hurled giant foam caution cards in the air, like confetti.

"It was amazing," Galaxy midfielder David Beckham said. "Ronaldo can do that whenever he wants. ... You want to applaud it, even when you're on the opposing team he just scored against. You want to applaud it. It makes you smile. To watch a talent like that, to watch a player that can do that, you literally want to stand back and applaud."